Media Power and Class Power: Overplaying Ideology

David Miller

Abstract


The media have a contradictory role in relation to class power. They do predominantly carry corporate and state friendly messages, but not exclusively. They do have a role in legitimating capitalist social relations, but the role of ideology in maintaining social order has been overplayed by some theorists. A variety of other mechanisms employed by the powerful to pursue their interests are arguably as important as the mass media in the maintenance of 'ruling ideas'. In attempting to rethink the relationship between media power and class power, this essay uses the work of Stuart Hall as the starting point for a critique of cultural and media studies. It argues that Critical Theorists such as Hall overemphasized the importance of ideology and the 'function' of the media in capitalist social order.

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